ISJ November 2017: Engaging with Difference, Global Citizenship and the Dutch Zwarte Piet – Finding Ways Forward
In 1744, in the upper New York State area, the Iroquois Chief Canassatego politely declined an English offer for Iroquois boys to attend the University of Virginia. Canassatego was an influential leader in the Onondago Tribe and he maintained that with regards to education, ‘different nations have different conceptions of things.’ (American Rhetoric, 2001).
He was convinced that English schooling would turn the Iroquois boys into ‘bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, [knowing] neither how to build a cabin, take a deer or kill an enemy, [speaking] our language imperfectly, and therefore [they would be] neither fit for hunters, nor warriors nor councilors. They [would be] totally good for nothing.’ (American Rhetoric, 2001). So, much to the amazement of the English, the offer for University placement did not bring the Iroquois on their side in their struggle for land and resources against the French.